Just as people judge books by their covers, they decide whether or not to open an email based on the subject line. Which is why email subject lines need to grab the attention and be compelling enough to get people to click through and read your content.

The subject line creates the first impression, often being the one thing that makes an email stand out from all the other emails in an inbox. Here are ten tips on writing the kind of subject lines that get your emails opened:

  • Keep them short and sweet: since so many people now use their mobiles to read their email, keeping it short ensures it won’t be cut off on smaller screens. A subject line under 50 characters is what you should aim for. Cut out any unnecessary words.
  • Use personalisation: emails that include the first name of the recipient have higher click-through rates than generic ones. A personalised Happy Birthday email has a very high success rate, as do location specific emails, like the best restaurants in a city. Even using the word ‘you’ is more personal, as it sounds like the email is addressing the reader directly.
  • Segment your user lists: By separating your email list into sections, like demographics, age group, personal preferences or job type, you can tailor emails to reach a certain group, rather than spamming your entire email list every time.
  • Don’t make false claims: your email subject line needs to deliver – if you promise something and then fail on delivery, you will irritate and lose significant amounts of subscribers.
  • Get the timing right: sending an email at a specific time with the right subject line can increase click-throughs. Birthday or anniversary messages or reminders of an event need to be sent at just the right time.
  • Tell them what’s inside: use this when the email contains a link to a download or special offer, e.g. ‘Your discount coupon inside!’ or ‘Free eBook awaits!’
  • Be clear: most people scan their inboxes at high speed, so flowery or verbose language can come off as pretentious, loquacious and garrulous (see what I mean?). Use concise phrases that say exactly what the email is about.
  • Start with action verbs: using words like Claim (your free prize) or Discover (the secret to happiness) inspire people to take action and click through. It makes the email seem more exciting and instils a sense of urgency.
  • Pose a question: this can draw readers in, especially if it’s relevant. ‘Do you know what your house is worth?’ or ‘Are you looking for a new home?’ for a real estate related email makes someone in the market feel like they are receiving personal mail.
  • Create urgency: using terms like ‘Today only’, or ‘24-hour sale’ create feelings of exclusivity and pressure that increases click-through rates.

If your emails are not being opened, your content is not being seen. If you have something important or exciting to share, make sure your subject line reflects just that. For more on email marketing and content creation, contact us today.